Lucia di Lamermermoor, Mad Scene

Mad Scenes

  They were all the rage in the early 19th century, a time when bel canto dominated the operatic stage. The vast majority of mad scenes were written for the leading soprano, providing her the ultimate opportunity to showcase her skills. Many of these pieces are extremely demanding, full of Read more…

Recitative

What is recitative?

You may have heard the term recitative when you hear people talk about opera, but what exactly is recitative? This is my definition of recitative – any semi-spoken, semi-sung non-repetitive part of an opera that advances the action. Typically, the earlier the opera is, the easier it is to distinguish between recitative and other operatic sections, such as arias or ensemble pieces.

Don’t just take my word for it; listen to the great Leonard Bernstein talk about recitative…

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A few arias to go along with your coffee

Opera music can be a bit much to chew early in the morning, but here are a few pieces that I find go well with my morning coffee.

Although not an aria, it just can’t get much more beautiful than that, can it? Those french horns – wow! “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” is from Wagner’s Lohengrin. I think the title of the piece does a fairly good job explaining what’s happening in the opera when you hear it. (more…)

Opera’s Greatest Hits

A few of the “greatest hits” from the operatic repertory:

Overture to Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). While none of the music in the overture returns in the opera itself, it certainly does an excellent job setting the stage for the “day of madness” that is to follow. (more…)